LNV Corporation v. Kelly L Randle et al
MINUTE ORDER IN CHAMBERS by Judge Jesus G. Bernal REMANDING Action to California Superior Court or the County of Riverside: (see document image for further details). IT IS SO ORDERED. Case Terminated. Made JS-6 (Attachments: # 1 CV-103) (ad)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
EDCV 13-01198 JGB (SPx)
August 7, 2013
Title LNV Corporation v. Kelly L Randle et al.
Present: The Honorable
JESUS G. BERNAL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Attorney(s) Present for Plaintiff(s):
Attorney(s) Present for Defendant(s):
Minute Order REMANDING Action to California Superior Court or the
County of Riverside (IN CHAMBERS)
On June 7, 2013, Plaintiff LNV Corporation (“Plaintiff” or “LNV”) filed a complaint for
unlawful detainer ("Complaint") against Defendants Kelly L. Randle and Fred Mitchell
("Defendants") and fictitious defendants in the California Superior Court for the County of
Riverside. (Not. of Removal, Exh. A, Doc. No. 1.) On July 5, 2013, Defendants removed the
action to this Court. (Not. of Removal.) Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand the action back to
state court on July 17, 2013. (Doc. No. 4.) Defendants filed a series of documents which appear
to request a continuance of the hearing on Plaintiff’s motion. (Doc. Nos. 7-11.)
Since "[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); FW/PBS, Inc. v. Dallas,
493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990) ("federal courts are under an independent obligation to examine their
own jurisdiction"); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3) ("If the court determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.") Thus, the Court
independently assesses whether it has jurisdiction over this matter. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court finds that it does not have jurisdiction over the action, therefore, Defendants
request for a continuance is moot.
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II. LEGAL STANDARD1
Removal jurisdiction is governed by statute. See 28 U.S.C. §1441. The Ninth Circuit
applies a strong presumption against removal jurisdiction, ensuring "the defendant always has
the burden of establishing that removal is proper." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th
Cir. 1992) (citing Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903 F.2d 709, 712 n.3 (9th Cir.
1990)); see also In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank, 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001) ("The party
asserting federal jurisdiction bears the burden of proving the case is properly in federal court.").
"If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Defendants appear to allege several bases for removal jurisdiction. None of these bases
provide the Court with subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
A. Federal Question
Defendants claim that federal question jurisdiction exists, but do not identify any federal
questions in the complaint over which the Court has original jurisdiction. In order for removal to
be proper, Defendants must show that Plaintiff's "'well-pleaded complaint establishes either that
federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on
resolution of a substantial question of federal law.'" Proctor v. Vishay Intertechnology Inc., 584
F.3d 1208, 1219 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh, 547
U.S. 677, 689–90 (2006).
From the face of the Complaint, Plaintiff's only claim is for unlawful detainer, a
California state law action. See Wells Fargo Bank v. Lapeen, No. C 11–01932 LB, 2011 WL
2194117, *3 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2011) (“an unlawful detainer action, on its face, does not arise
under federal law but is purely a creature of California law”) (citing Wescom Credit Union v.
Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010)).
Further, Plaintiff's right to relief on the unlawful detainer claim does not depend on the
resolution of a substantial question of federal law. Rather, Plaintiff is entitled to judgment upon
establishing that the subject property was sold in accordance with California Civil Code Section
2924 and that the requisite three-day notice to quit to Defendants was served as required by
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161a. Evans v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 3d
162, 168 (1977). Accordingly, the Complaint lacks any federal claims.
B. 28 U.S.C. § 1444
Defendants also cite to 28 U.S.C. § 1444 as a basis for subject matter jurisdiction. That
statute states that any action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2410 in any state court may be removed
Unless otherwise noted, all mentions of "Rule" refer to the Federal Rules of Civil
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to federal court. Section 2410 provides that the United States may be named as a party in a civil
action to “foreclose a mortgage or other lien upon . . . real or personal property on which the
United States has or claims a mortgage or other lien.” 28 U.S.C. § 2410. Defendants contend
that this action is “de facto brought by and on behalf of the United States in that LNV
Corporation was acting, and is required by federal law to act, as a conduit for the Unites States in
obtaining reimbursement for foreclosure losses and costs, as party and parcel of the loss guaranty
from the FDIC.” (Not. of Removal at 3.)
Contrary to Defendants’ assertion, the United States is not named as a real party in
interest in the Complaint. The sole Plaintiff, LNV, is not the United States, the FDIC, or acting
on behalf of federal officers or agencies. As stated in the Complaint, LNV is a corporation
authorized to do business in California. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Section 1444 therefore does not provide
the Court with subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
Alternatively, Defendants appear to allege that the basis for removal is diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Diversity jurisdiction requires that the amount in
controversy exceed $75,000 and that the action be between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Defendants do not allege the citizenship of the parties.
Jurisdiction, including the amount in controversy, is determined at the moment of
removal. See Strotek Corp. v. Air Transp. Ass'n. of Am., 300 F.3d 1129, 1131 (9th Cir. 2002).
The amount in controversy is determined from the complaint itself, unless it appears to a legal
certainty that the claim is worth an amount other than that pled in the complaint. Horton v.
Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367 U.S. 348, 354 (1961); Lowdermilk v. United States Bank Nat'l Ass’n,
479 F.3d 994, 999 (9th Cir. 2007). In its Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that its damages do not
exceed $10,000, and it filed the action as a limited civil case. (See Not. of Removal, Doc No. 1.)
See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 86 (classifying cases where the prayer is less than $25,000 as limited
civil cases). Consequently, it is clear that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75,000,2
and the Court lacks diversity jurisdiction to hear the action.
"If it clearly appears on the face of the [Notice of Removal] and any exhibits annexed
thereto that removal should not be permitted, the court shall make an order for summary
remand." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4), the Court has examined
the Notice of Removal and concludes that Defendants have not met their burden of establishing
that this case is properly in federal court. See In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank (South Dakota),
In an unlawful detainer action, the appropriate measure of damages is the amount
sought in the complaint, not the value of the property. Federal Nat. Mortg. Ass’n v. Lemon, No.
11–03948, 2011 WL 3204344, *2 (C.D. Cal. July 26, 2011) (“[T]he appropriate damages in
unlawful detainer actions remains the amount sought in the complaint, not the value of the
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N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001) ("The party asserting federal jurisdiction bears the
burden of proving the case is properly in federal court."). For the foregoing reasons, the Court
REMANDS this action to California Superior Court for the County of Riverside.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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